Gardens

How to Harvest and Dry Seeds

It’s time to gather this past summer’s seeds from your favorite flowers and veggies to save for next year’s garden crops. In this post, I’ll explain how to harvest and dry seeds from your garden and share which seeds are the easiest to harvest for great results year after year. Before harvesting seeds from your […]

By Shelley Wigglesworth

Sep 03 2012

milkweed-pix

Milkweed seeds and pods ready to harvest. Milkweed is a great plant for Butterfly gardens.

Photo Credit : Pixabay
It’s time to gather this past summer’s seeds from your favorite flowers and veggies to save for next year’s garden crops. In this post, I’ll explain how to harvest and dry seeds from your garden and share which seeds are the easiest to harvest for great results year after year. Before harvesting seeds from your veggies and flowers, it’s important to know if the plants the seeds are coming from are open-pollinated or hybrid plants. Open-pollinated plants are pollinated by insects, birds and the wind. Hybrid plants are plants that have been cross-pollinated under controlled conditions with the help of humans using two different species of the plant. Hybrid plant growers chose traits such as larger blooms and berries or preferred colors and traits to modify and control the plant’s appearance. Plants and veggies purchased from department and grocery stores are likely to be hybrids. Seeds harvested from hybrids will often times not produce the same results as those that were naturally cross pollinated. If you bought your flowers and vegetables from a farm stand or home gardener, results will be more consistent.
Milkweed seeds and pods ready to harvest. Milkweed is a great plant for Butterfly gardens.
Photo Credit : Pixabay

Instructions on How to Harvest Seeds:

  1. Prepare for seed harvesting by labeling small paper bags or manila envelopes with the name of the plant seeds you are harvesting and the date and color of the flower if applicable. Use sharp kitchen scissors for cutting pods.
  2. Look for seeds with dry and brown pods.
  3. Snip the entire pod into the paper bag or envelope and shake to loosen the seeds.
  4. Leave the bags/envelopes open and hang from a rafter in a dry area with good air circulation.
  5. Let the pods and seeds dry for a few weeks, occasionally checking the bags for mold and shaking the contents to aid in the drying process.
  6. If the seeds have not dried completely after a few weeks, spread them out on newspaper for another week before re-checking them.
  7. After the seeds have dried completely, remove all pods and debris and loosely re-package the seeds in a clean, labeled paper envelope and store in a dry place until planting time.
Gardener’s Tip: If you have an abundance of dried seeds, you may want to create your own seed packets by decorating envelopes with scrapbooking supplies and printing directions for planting the seeds. These packets make great gifts.

Top 5 Flower Seeds to Dry

  1. Nasturtium
  2. Pansy
  3. Marigold
  4. Foxglove
  5. Zinnia

Top 5 Vegetable Seeds to Dry

  1. Tomatoes
  2. Beans
  3. Squash
  4. Zucchini
  5. Watermelon
Know that you know how to harvest and dry seeds, start planning next year’s garden. Happy Harvesting!